Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Story of a One Room School.

Life is a series of special events and happenings that mark our connections with the past and form links to our futures. Both of my parents came from farming backgrounds. Their grandparents came from different parts of the world(my dad's side came from the United States and Central Canada)and my mother's side came from England and Sweden. All four sets of great grandparents came to my home province of Alberta in the early 20th century. Their stories were all unique but the common bond they shared, was that they all desired the opportunity to start a new life. Life on the Canadian prairies was pretty difficult at that time. There were long journeys to travel before arriving at the place they would call home on the rustic prairies.

 Here was my Swedish great grandmother's journey. It took quite awhile to come by boat (my great grandmother with two small children came in 3rd class on the Empress of Britain ocean liner). She then got onto a 3 week train ride that she boarded at Quebec City. The journey was followed by a wagon ride for a day and a half to get to a piece of land that was covered by forest as far as the eye could see. Her new home was a one room shack where they would live until my great grandfather could build another. It was back breaking work to clear the land with an axe and a grubhoe.

My Swedish great grandfather Nils, married my great grandmother Frida on Boxing Day (December 26,1902) I would later marry on that same date in 1980. Here they are on their wedding day. They came from Northern Sweden( Malmberget) where my great grandfather Nils was a fire boss in an Iron Mine. Frida found the prairies somewhat frightening- she had no close neighbours and did not speak English. She had one other lady in the community who could speak Swedish. Nils often was away from home earning a grubstake so that his family had an income. There was no school there until 1912.
.My great grandfather Nils built the school in 1912 - Today there was a 100th Anniversary Dedication of the school. Here is an excerpt of a story that I wrote for our local teacher's magazine. I updated it for the dedication.
" The actual land title location of the New Hill School is SW 18-37-3-W5.The land had belonged to an Eric Bergstrom who donated the land to the school. My great grandfather, Nils Linneberg bid and won the contract to build the school for $600. He later discovered that his bid was too low and he so used some of the native tamarack hewn square with an axe, for the sills and the floor joints. The studs and rails were made of spruce and were also hewed by hand. The foundation was made of field stones. The school was originally located on the southwest corner of the quarter section. It was moved in 1952 to its present location on the north east corner of the same quarter section. It was placed on a full basement, which contained a wood and coal burning furnace. The school closed its doors in 1955 and all the children in the area were bussed to a larger consolidated school in Condor. In 1960, the school was purchased by the district for $250.00 and is used for a community centre. In 1980, the school furnace was changed to an oil furnace with forced air for $1000. Within the last ten years, they have put the school on a different foundation and the door now faces the east rather than north. It is still used as a place to gather for community events such as ball tournaments, picnics and district suppers. Many a social gathering was held in this building. People would bring pot luck suppers, their voices and other instruments and enjoy a family social evening together. The school has also been used for church services and Sunday school. Like most old school houses, it was and still is, used a multi-purpose building. "
 .  It looks pretty stark in the bottom photo . My mother and some of her siblings attended the school. Her youngest sister did not - instead she road a bus to the Consolidated school . 

Today they will have put a dedication on the school that recognized Nils contribution to his community.

My great grandfather, Nils Linneberg, wanted a place for his children to be educated. The fruit of his labor remains standing 100 years later- It is not a grand building but its walls could tell some wonderful stories of those who have gone before us. They would tell about a simpler time where teachers wrote on chalkboards, had very limited supplies, stokes fires and ran to use the outdoor toilets. The one room school house meant teachers had lots of grades and children to teach. The ways we teach and group children may be different today, but the desire for our children to have the best education experience so that they can be contributing members to our society, remains the same. While this little white building no longer houses children during the day, it remains part of the social fabric of the farming community know as New Hill ( Hespero).

Have you ever read the book " And the Ladies of the Club" by Helen Hooven Santmyer? This book is a story about ladies who gather socially to create and be together. It is a terrific story and well worth the read though it is a lengthy novel. The ladies often referred to themselves as Mrs. ( insert husband's name.) It is a reflections of a way of life that is now gone. 

My grandmother belonged to such a ladies women's club in her farming community. One of the things that they did was embroidered squares and created signature blocks for one another. This one is a living legacy of the pioneer ladies in the community. I don't believe that there are any of the ladies who have blocks on the quilt are still living. There are a couple of ladies who later moved into the community that would have been members of the ladies group. This bedspread was made with blocks that are dated from 1939- 1945. I know that the ladies group existed after that. I remember many of these women from my childhood visits to my grandparent's farm. 
Each block is made on feedsacks or muslin and  was embroidered by different ladies from the farming  community.Mars loves all quilts- she came to check this one out when I was taking pictures.

Here is a close up of a block done by my great aunt. She was married to Frida and Nils youngest son. I love the beautiful flowers she embroidered on it. Her block is dated 1939.
Below- Mrs. T. Linneberg( her first name was Nora) was married to Nil's and Frida's oldest son Ture. She did a lovely fan block- didn't she, with some more pretty flowers. She had lovely penmanship . It was interesting to see how they referred to their farming area- some called it Eckville , which was the closest little town and others called it New Hill or Hespero or even Stauffer which are all names for some parts of that farming community. The mailing address would have had Eckville in it . 
Below- My grandmother Grace's signature block  . This is the only complete coverlet that she ever made. Like all the other blocks she has embroidered her name and date. It was interesting to look at all the blocks and see the great variety of detail . It reflects the different talents of the contributors. The coverlet had a drop side and I believe that my Gran's intent was to make it as a bed spread. I should have pressed it with spray starch before taking photographs of it but did not want to use any fabric preservatives on it. I have it in my possession so that I can back it and stabilize it . I think I will probably stitch it in the ditch to fasten the layers. Anyone got any advice for keeping it in good shape?- the one person I showed it to felt that I should just leave it as it is but I would like to preserve the work. It is most valuable to the families who lived in the area.
Mrs. T Weninger obviously loved birds and flowers - her block is particularly lovely with gorgeous satin stitched flowers. 
My mom and I taken a couple of falls ago. My mother, Dolores, is the matriarch of her generation . She and her cousins all lived within a few mile radius of one another. They spent many happy hours together, in and out of the school house. Today they would have celebrated those  connections- ones that they have with one another, still. Their fathers, and some of their mothers, would have attended that one room school house that their Grandfather, Nils, built. The school house would have been a hub during the years that they were growing up. 

This is a photo of my beloved Gran with a quilt that I made especially for her to celebrate her 85th birthday. She passed away suddenly in the fall of 2003.

 I dedicate this post to my mother's family.
I am sorry that I was not able to join them for this event but, I was with them all in spirit.

Those One Room School Houses were important to their communities- the heart of the social network. Today I pause to remember one that was built by my great grandfather, Nils. Happy 100th Anniversary!

Warmest regards,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sidelined by the Sidelined quilts

When I return to the classroom after summer break, it is always a bit of an adjustment from the ebb and flow of summer to the hectic times opening up my classroom. After the first day, My beloved brought home these gorgeous pink roses to celebrate new beginnings. I was so tired that I could hardly utter a coherent word that resembled" Thank you "for his thoughtfulness, so I thought I would share these with you now. Hope they brighten your day like they brightened mine.
In early August I began a journey with this Sidelines pattern. It has turned into a series of twin sized couch quilts. There is some variance in the quilt's size- depending on the width of the outside border but all of them are at least around 60 inches wide and 70 + inches in length. This blue and brown one has a minkee back. I made it for my mother in law who is turning 90 at the end of this month. In this photo it is not quilted but it has now been quilted and has a label on the back of it. It quilted up beautifully and I hope that it will look terrific on her bed.

The thing I like best about this pattern is that it really shows off the fabrics. This soft floral has beautiful pink and yellow pansies. It is not yet quilted but I hope to finish it before Christmas. It depends on how many other quilts need to get completed first. Mars often has her favorite quilts in the pile- It looks like she approves of this blue and yellow one( I think it is my current favorite.) Mars often picks ones that are the same color as she is!  I often found her laying on the blue and brown one. The other morning I saw her lying on the pile of finished quilts. I wish I had taken a photo of her looking like the princess that she is, sleeping on the quilts. Here she is just showing off her gorgeous color on the blue  and gold quilt.  This one is not quilted yet. 
This green and gold one below is  made with Asian like fabrics. It is finished- it has a label and is made for a special couple who is celebrating a milestone anniversary. I hope that they will love it- It has a real elegance about the fabrics and seems appropriate for them. It is fun to choose the fabrics that seem to suit the recipients. Sometimes,choosing the fabric and design that would suit a person or the people it is for, is more complicated than other times.
See how different this one looks- I don't want to reveal who it is for just yet but I will say that it is also finished. It has some gorgeous fabrics too.
This last one is not completed- it is just a top yet but it is the largest of the series. It was the original one I made. I was able to learn a few things about choosing the colors for the strips( you should have good contrast but not too distinct)so that you can get good framing of the fabric blocks but the strips don't overwhelm the framed blocks. I would have chosen a softer peach color which I had in my stash, but didn't use, with these pueblo vase fabrics. It is too Halloween like for my taste.. I have not decided where its home will be but I am sure that there is someone out there who would love this quilt.
I am not sure that I am finished with this Sideline series. I have some sunflower fabrics as well as some Christmas fabrics that I think I will use to make a couple more of this pattern. It has kept me busy this past month getting them cut, pieced and quilted but it has been a very satisfying flurry of creativity. I also have one other quilt top that is nearly completed but I will share that sometime soon. Do you ever create a series of quilts or do you like to work on completely different projects? I have a few patterns that I made over and over again - not because I don't like to try different patterns but sometimes it is fun to see how different they look using different fabrics combinations. I also have this knack of making a series because I could not get my fabric combinations choices down to just one grouping.LOL   In the past, I made a pair of Irish chains, 4 whirlgig quilts, numerous convergence quilts and two paper weights.. and the list goes on..

I notice as I am driving home that the leaves on my street are starting to turn color. One day soon I will have to take a photo of the street before the leaves fall to the ground. The trees are so beautiful when they form an golden arch over the road.

Until next time,
Happy creating,
Warmest Regards,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kindergarten Common Core Workbook

And now for something completely different.. Usually, I use my blog to reflect and share my passion for quilting. In passing you do hear about my life as a kindergarten teacher here in Canada.On my blog list I have a number of links to kindergarten blogs that I enjoy reading. This new resource looks interesting so I am posting this link to share with those of you who work with young children.

 In the US there has been a large focus on the establishment of Core Education Standards  This is a new resource that recently has been created to help teachers who are trying to meet the criterion of the core standards. This is a new resource that has been developed in the United States as the Kindergarten Common  Core workbook resource  This link will take you the site where you can download a sample copy . They also have a place on the website that shows the core State standards of various states in the literacy and math areas.  From what I could see in the download sample, there were lots of good ideas and materials readily available to use in this resource. These standards have been set in around 45 US states.

While our curriculum may be different across Canada, there are many ideas and materials that could make it a useful resource for all Kindergarten teachers. The internet continues to provide materials and resources to help support all our children's learning environments.
If you go before the end of the weekend, you may be able to receive your own copy of the resource free of charge.

I will return soon to share my news and love of quilting..
Regards, Anna

Monday, September 10, 2012

Part of where August went....

This last weekend while I reading my facebook page I came across a  blog  rainbows within reach by Debbie Clement. It is a wonderful touching post about creativity and she posted this fabulous poster.
Flowers have the ability to say so many wonderful things- Wouldn't this poster make a fabulous quilt. Thank you  Debbie for sharing your story and this beautiful poster. 
I know that I have been away for awhile. August was a creative time for me. I went to a workshop/ retreat at the beginning of August, where we were busy quilting away on some quilts. I used a pattern called Sidelines by Maple Island Quilts. They are the creator of BQ patterns and have a number of lovely patterns that use bigger blocks. I think that their designs would appeal to both modern quilters and more traditional quilters like myself.

See my new sewing machine.... It is a gem that I had the good fortune to acquire from a dear friend, earlier in the summer. Once she was cleaned and got a new belt she sews like a dream. It was perfect for taking to a class or retreat. The machine has a lovely stitch and I was able to get a quarter inch foot for it.  This Vintage Singer Featherweight was born in 1947. If you look carefully behind it, you can see the small plastic bags that hold 6 different Sideline tops.. Did I say I was busy.. Did I say that I put a large number of miles on this little featherweight?
It was the first time that I had ever kitted a quilt for myself- I made the 6 quilts in a series of steps. First I cut the 6 quilts out, and then I sewed the strips together. After that, I  cut the strip sets into the appropriate sizes. Each night for a week I put together the tops of the quilts.. It wasn't long before I had a rainbow of quilts that looked quite different because of the fabric choices. Then I went away to my folks for a few days for a visit.. When I returned it was time to go back to the classroom. I took three of  quilt tops  to school and spray basted the quilts so that I could get them quilted. On the Labor Day Weekend I quilted the three quilts and this past weekend I got them bound.. Now they just need labels on them... I know that you probably want to see them, but right now, I can't show you them until I give them away at the end of the month.. I promise you will see them soon..
In the meantime, I will show you a couple of other things. 
First, Bruce and I went off to visit the mountains in late July. This photograph was taken with Lake Minnewanka in the background. It is close to Banff  Alberta where we were staying.  We had a fabulous time enjoying the pool and the mountain scenery. We stopped in a number of quilt stores where I had the opportunity to add to my stash. I found some lovely pieces in a store in Rocky Mountain House (that journey will be for another post)
On Sunday September 9 we had a new baby arrive in our clan. This beautiful boy is James ( to me, he is sweet baby James, like the James Taylor's song).. He is our first grand nephew- We have four beautiful grand nieces but he is the first boy.. Welcome to the world James.. We are looking forward to meeting you too..
When we were travelling in Central Alberta and visiting some of the quilt shops, Bruce noticed this wall quilt and had to take a picture of it. Doesn't it just make you smile..( It says There is no such thing as too much fabric!!
You may be aware of the company Connecting Threads from Vancouver Washington. They are a lovely company with very affordable prices ( both fabric wise and shipping costs). It is a great place to buy fabric, notions and books if you live in Canada or the USA.( Unfortunately they do not ship overseas)  This gorgeous package came to me as a prize from Penny from Sew take a hike who had created a terrific quilt with solids. She offered up a second  quilt kit to make up yourself ,and I was really fortunate to be the winner of such a lovely solids quilt kit.  I have not used solids much in my quilting so this will be a new challenge.
Here is a closer look at some of the lovely fabrics in the box. Thanks Penny for this wonderful gift. I love the sea foam colors in the group.
This lovely collection of red white and blue things came from a lovely lady named Wendy. You can find her blog here: Wendy  really made a lovely pincushion. She was participating in the red white and blue blog hop. Thanks so much Wendy for these lovely gifts.   Recently I spent some time reading the back to school blog hop- A blog hop is a great way to discover a new to you blog. Sometimes you might even win a giveaway prize.
 Still, I have not fiqured out how to read blogs, write a blog, quilt and work... Sometimes it seems so complicated to manage to do it all- Anyone got some good tips as to  how you manage to read write and create- Somehow I struggle with one or another of these aspects.
I do have fun reading and commenting on all blogs-. You meet so many great people out in blog land. There are so many quilts to be inspired by and lots of interesting dialogue going on with the quilt forums.
Well I think I will sign off for now- Next time I will have some new quilts to show you, and perhaps an old one from the vault too.
Wishing everyone a happy fall / spring to my southern hemisphere friends.
Warmest regards,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Where did August go?????

Dear Friends,

 I am sorry its been a while - I seem to be lost in my stash of fabric possessed by this Sidelines Quilt pattern by Maple Island Quilts. It is a terrific pattern - very easy to make and I have been on a creative binge. Today I finished three of these quilts and have three more tops completed... I have lots of news to catch you up but I am too tired this evening.. I promise I will post more in the next few days now I got these three quilts completed. Watch for more news...

 Warmest regards,